The St. Catharine College Patriots will break new ground next week with their first appearance in the Buffalo Funds NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City. And J.T. Burton’s squad will be facing a new opponent as well as they will meet Lindenwood University in the first round of the 32 team tournament that runs from March 16-22.
The Patriots (22-8) are a 14th seed which matches the ranking they garnered in the final regular season national poll issued Wednesday. Lindenwood (28-5) was ranked 20th in that final regular season poll. The St. Catharine /Lindenwood matchup will tip off at 5:30 (EDT) Wednesday March 15th. If the Patriots get by the Lions in the opening round they will very possibly see a familiar opponent in round two to be played Friday at 5:30.
That second round game will be against the winner of the Mountain State (29-3) and Park University game. The Patriots dealt Mountain State (West Virginia) one of its three losses when they beat them at home 99-86 in December. Mountain State, ranked third nationally, avenged that defeat when they won at home 93-85 over the patriots in January.
Lindenwood, from St. Charles, Mo., lost its Heart of America Athletic Conference final to # 15 Evangel 69-62. They are led in scoring by two guards, 5-11 junior Kramer Soderberg (17 ppg) and 6-1 senior Richard Rose (13.5 ppg)). The Lions average 77 points a game while allowing 66 points a contest. The Lions, who are also in the national tournament for the first time, are one of the top teams from long range in the nation as they rank second nationally in three point accuracy at 40.4 percent. They are third nationally in free throw percentage at 74 percent.
Other Mid-South Conference teams to see action in Kansas City will be seventh ranked Georgetown who will open with Olivet Nazarene and 24th ranked Pikeville who will face Oklahoma Baptist in the first round.
For a look at the complete tournament bracket visit www.naia.org.